- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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Interesting Period Piece
This isn't a bad movie and it is entertaining. It does convey some of the worry and fear Americans felt in the early 1960s when the government urged citizens to build fallout shelters and consider the possibility of nuclear disaster. The problem is that the film no more captures the horror of a nuclear blast than the dumb Duck and Cover movies shown in schools. Also, the filming quality just isn't top quality especially considering Ray Milland stars in the film and he directs it. The freeway stock footage scenes are disappointing and much of the outdoor scenes look fake and a bit like something from a Hopalong Cassidy movie. Milland is quite intense in his role as a father determined to preserve his family. He is incredibly adept at survival know how for a guy who has been living in the suburbs. But that's OK because he basically carries the entire plot alone. His wife and daughter are marginal characters. The wife (Jean Hagen) is almost clueless at times (especially when the three punks stop Milland's car and trailer and she complains when the son shoots one of the turds while protecting Milland's character). In fact, she offers a lot of complaints. The daughter is worse. She is painfully two dimensional. Consider her brilliant comment upon arriving at the cave: "This is a drag and I'm bored." She is more of a prop than a character. Dad and son are armed to the teeth every moment but the daughter is lazily reading a book by the stream and serves as a sitting duck for the punks. Frankie Avalon is OK but that's because he actually has scenes where he is asked to do something. Otherwise, it's all Milland's show. It's a fun movie because it takes us back in time to the 1960s when people actually believed hiding under a desk would ward off nuclear radiation and that a direct hit just might be survivable.
More--One for the "Drive In Movie Hall of Fame"
- Jon hendry
--and to think I worked for the screenwriter--an old "voice" from the movie newsreels--and I net knew he wrote it.
One for the "Drive In Movie Hall of Fame"
- Jon hendry
Better than the CD Civil Defense films you saw in high school in the 1960's--much, much better.. A great example of movies made for the "drive in"--Out of the news topic, (nuclear war and the aftermath) one of the best movie titles, an unlikely but bankable lead (Ray Milland), bright snappy '60's Jazz, period dialogue.All you need is the 10 inch pepperoni from the snack bar. Just remember--this the second feature--and the snack bar's closing soon.
Love Ray Milland!
Love,love,love Ray Milland! Look at his scope of roles.From "The Major and the Minor","Dial M for Murder",or (my favorite),"The Lost Weekend" to his Sci-Fi movies,"The Man With the X-ray Eyes" and of course,"Panic in Year Zero!",Milland is so real and believable. Of course,he also directed "Panic in Year Zero!". The film was very entertaining,fast paced,and pretty much spot-on regarding the depraved behavior and "survival-of-the-fittest''mentality of much of society! Wish TCM would feature Milland as "Star of the Month"!
The End of the World is NOW!
- Raymond Banacki
Within hours, all of these people would have been dead.
Manic Since 1789 Europe
- Larry Welk
This movie well instructed its viewers as to the necessity of clear, decisive thought & action in a situation gone mad which includes taking desperate measures but with minimal animalism! This happens when most people know who & what they are which characterized the acted-out family in this story! After 70 years of programming to think outside the box, to stretch the envelope, to break down barriers in order to allow what was unallowable for most of man's existence, who of the meek would inherit the earth in this day & age following a universal cotastrophe?!
- Cheese Borger
In response to Kevin's review - the film is from 1962! You review it like it is modern day production. Anyhow, very enjoyable film for me, I like a lot of the stuff from that era. Has a Twilight Zone episode feel to it. glorious black and white!
If there had been a nuclear war and LA San Francisco and the East Coast had been wiped out things would be so much worse than portrayed in this movie people would be killing each other right and left are you have to do is look at the behavior on the freeway is how people treat each other in peaceful times to know that in a high stress situation people would revert to being barbarians and the idea that they would be able to return to Los Angeles in a couple of weeks is ridiculous
Panic in the year zero
- Fred C. Wilson III
I loved this movie! Not only was it entertaining but it was a learning expereince of how people should conduct themselves in the event of major castrophie. Splendid movie with a good cast!
Certainly one of the better 50's 'gloom & doom' genre. Gee, even Frankie Avalon does pretty well! The scenes of the family, recklessly towing their camper, are pretty tense. The premise & the execution of the screenplay are above average for the time period.
Very Entertaining Movie
This movie is underrated, yes it can be corny and slow, but the overall story is great. There needs to be a modern remake of this. See what today's American's would do, and how the race card would be revelent. Would people today be worse? Would the aftermath of a nuclear attack be more devestating today? You bet. Some great lines that would never be allowed, Frankie Avalon the son (Ray Milland is the father) is asked to light him a cigarette, he also takes a toke before giving it to Dad. In the cave Dad talks about trying to remain as civilized as possible, and for son to keep shaving. As if being in a nuclear attack shaving is important. Great trip down memory lane and how we use to think, and act. Times have changed.
Nearly Prophetic Doomsday Thriller
- Bruce Reber
"Panic In Year Zero"(1962), a chilling story of a family's fight for survival after a nuclear war, came out about 3 months before the Cuban Missile Crisis - at the height of the Cold War between the U.S. and Soviet Union, when everyone knew that the end of the world could happen at any minute. It was a time when people were building fallout shelters and having air raid drills (I don't remember too much about it, since I was only 4 years old at the time). "Panic In Year Zero" nearly played itself out for real in October 1962 when we learned the Soviets had brought nuclear missiles into Cuba and were intending to annihilate the U.S., which would ultimately lead to global destruction. Although the depiction of what happens in the film is probably different from how it would actually be in a post-nuclear environment, it's still a very scary and effective "End Of The World" film.
fire in the road!
- Ed Haas
so many memorable scenes, but I too (like Gary) remember Ray battling traffic to get away and dousing the highway with gasoline to make a lane. Perhaps it was all the family camping we did that made this film connect - one of the formative films of my childhood (figure that one!) Ray robs the hardware store and goes Rambo to save his family. Who can forget the radio broadcast at the end when someone (the President?) announces that from now on the year will be called year zero. Thanks TCM for bringing my childhood back - could "Altantis the Lost Continent" be far behind?!?
oops - AIP
- Gary Warner
Meant AIP, not AFI. Big dif.
Scared me as a kid
- Gary Warner
Viewed as an adult, this AFI flick has a lot of cheapy aspects and scenery-chewing bits. But as a kid growing up in the LA area, I can remember it scared the hell out of me when it appeared on the old "Million Dollar Movie" on TV every now and again. The scene where Milland spreads gas across a crowded highway and set it on fire so he can get his family through to safety was especially memorable. A premium bit of Cold War paranoia.